Debate over ending Colorado’s death penalty part of national conversation
If the bill clears the state Senate’s first floor debate, it’s nearly ensured a signature by Gov. Jared Polis.
The death penalty has been declared all but dead in Colorado, where no one has been executed since 1997 or even been sentenced to death in a decade — including in horrific crimes such as the Aurora theater shooting and Christopher Watts’ murder of his wife and two young daughters.
Still, the visceral debate over capital punishment here — where the state Senate will take a key vote as soon as Wednesday on whether to take it off the table altogether — is part of a larger national conversation. Across the United States, but especially in the West, the death penalty is falling out of favor with prosecutors, juries, courts and state lawmakers from both parties.
Last year, in particular, was a watershed year as not one person was executed and only seven people were sentenced to death west of Texas — a 40-year low, according to an analysis of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that advocates for reforming the death penalty system.
Abolition or major reforms of the death penalty have recently been debated in Wyoming, Oregon and Utah with mixed results. The Washington State Supreme Court last year ruled capital punishment unconstitutional. And California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order pausing all future executions.
A number of factors are contributing to states backing away from capital punishment, including cost and a lack of access to the drug cocktail needed to execute someone by lethal injection.
Read the full story via The Denver Post.
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